Gewürztraminer: Funny Name. Yummy Wine
We are much closer to red wine weather than white wine winter, but there’s one white wine that comes to my mind when autumn rolls around and that’s Gewürztraminer. Aromas and flavors often described as honey, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, apricot, pear and rose seem perfectly suited to cozy autumn evenings, snuggled in a blanket on the deck, gazing at vineyard vistas turned to orange and red. Winter is coming, but before we delve into the full-bodied reds and our sweater drawer, there’s still time to enjoy this unusual and versatile white.
Gewurztraminer (ga-VERTZ-trah-mee-ner) originated in the Traminer region of Germany a thousand years ago. Originally known as Traminer (and you will still find wines labeled as such), the word Gewürz (spice) was later added to its name in recognition of the extraordinary aromatic qualities of the wine.
The variety is cultivated in the cooler-climate growing regions of Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, France (Alsace), the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
Like Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer is a white variety with a pink to red skin color, Naturally high in sugar, the wines are most often made in an “off-dry” style, leaving some light residual sweetness in the glass. You may even notice fine bubbles on the inside of the glass as well—called spritz.
Because Gewürtz has no tannin, medium-to-light body and acidity and often that residual sweetness, these wines pair quite well with spicy Asian cuisine. Other typical pairings are soft, flavorful cheeses such as Munster and fleshly, fatty proteins such as smoked salmon or pork roast.
One of my very favorite wine pairings, however, is Gewürztraminer and Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings. Many of the flavors found on the traditional Thanksgiving table tend to be sweet, and will make dry, tannic wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon seem bitter. A slightly sweet (off-dry) Gewurztraminer (such as Trimbach), a blend containing Gewürztraminer (such as our PromisQous White blend) or Riesling (such as our White Haute Riesling) have enough flavor and complexity to taste smooth and delicious regardless of whether you have a bite of sweet candied yams or savory dressing and gravy.
Side note for red fanatics: For Thanksgiving reds, look for medium-bodied, medium-acid, lower tannin (softer), fruit-forward wines, such as Middle Sister Wild One Malbec or Goodie Two Shoes Pinot Noir. For those who love their reds, the approachable style of these wines will complement the many different flavors of the Thanksgiving table. Have a selection of red, white and bubbly on hand to serve your guests to their taste and truly celebrate in style.